IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Price Flexibility, Credit Availability, and Economic Fluctuations: Evidence from the United States, 1894–1909


  • Charles W. Calomiris
  • R. Glenn Hubbard


The importance of disturbances in financial markets for real economic activity and the positive association between price level and output movements typically are explained by appeal to a combination of nominal aggregate demand shocks (particularly money-supply shocks) and rigid prices. We argue that this view is inconsistent with evidence for short-run responsiveness of prices and gold flows to nominal disturbances during the pre-World War I gold-standard era. We offer an alternative explanation that connects financial markets and real activity through disturbances to the availability of credit. This approach links comovements in prices and output through real effects in credit markets associated with price-level shocks. Empirical analysis, using monthly data for the pre-World War I period, supports the assumption of rapid price adjustment, and the credit-supply interpretation of the transmission of financial shocks. Disturbances to credit availability, including price shocks, contribute substantially to our empirical explanation of output fluctuations during this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles W. Calomiris & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1989. "Price Flexibility, Credit Availability, and Economic Fluctuations: Evidence from the United States, 1894–1909," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 429-452.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:3:p:429-452.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:3:p:429-452.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.